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August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
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Judaism in a Jar

Judaism isn’t meant to be kept in a jar, but on the mountains and Biblical valleys of Israel.

Gefilte fish balls.

Gefilte fish balls.

If the recent Sukkot overdose of Shabbat, followed by two days of Yom Tov, and another Shabbat followed by two more days of Yom Tov, isn’t enough to get Diaspora Jews to move to Israel, with its force-feeding of gefilta fish day-after-day, until gefilta fish jelly drips out of people’s noses and horseradish pours out of their ears, I don’t know what it’s going to take until Diaspora Jews are fed up with practicing Judaism in a jar.

With an average of two balls of gefilta fish per meal for the 3 Shabbat meals, and two balls at each of the 2 seudot on Yom Tov times 2 – that makes for 28 gefilta fish balls over the holiday for each and every Jew. For New York’s 1 million Jews, that means that 28,000,000 gefilta fish balls were consumed during Sukkot, not counting the 14,000,000 balls eaten during the two days of Rosh HaShanah and the preceding Shabbat.

It’s a big boom for gefilta fish companies, but a big belly ache for Diaspora Jews, many of whom end up rushing at the end of the holiday to hospitals where emergency rooms are crammed with gefilta-fish-overdosed Jews suffering from Diaspora Poisoning.

[Incidentally, the booming gefilta fish market may get an additional boost from a very unexpected source – U.S. President Obama who, in a bid to attract more Jewish voters, is planning to announce that if he is re-elected, the traditional White-House Thanksgiving Dinner will feature gefilta fish instead of turkey.]

As we’ve written on many occasions, the Torah isn’t meant to be observed in the Diaspora. Judaism isn’t meant to be kept in a jar, but on the mountains and Biblical valleys of Israel. The Torah was given to be performed in Eretz Yisrael. We described how the holiday of Sukkot is natural to the Land of Israel, with sukkah booths all over the country, on terraces, rooftops, street corners, shopping centers, and army bases – not only in back yards in isolated Jewish ghettos. And here in Israel, Sukkot is an official national holiday, with a long 10-day vacation from school, so kids here grow up being proud Jews, and not some minority with a chip on their shoulder for being different than Peter, Paul, and Mary.

Another example is the prayer for rain which we began saying yesterday in the Amidah prayer. As we said it, rain started to fall outside the synagogue window, marking the start of the rainy season in Israel, and a ushering in a united feeling of joy. In America, where it rains all the time, the prayer is meaningless. The same things happens come Hanukah time, when in Israel we say, “A great miracle happened here,” while Diaspora Jews say, “A great miracle happened THERE.” Judaism is happening in Israel.

As long as the curse of the exile was upon us, we had no choice and had to observe whatever individual  commandments we could in the Diaspora, but now that everyone can come home to a national Jewish life in Israel, where Jerusalem is once again the center of world Jewry, the practice of Judaism-in-a-bottle, in the ghettos of foreign, gentile lands is no longer necessary.

So, as we all proclaimed at the conclusion of our Yom Kippur prayers: “Next Year in Jerusalem!” See you here soon!

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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3 Responses to “Judaism in a Jar”

  1. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Gefilta fish is mostly made from Carp fish. Carp eats anything and just about everything including fecal matter off from the floor bed in lakes, pools, etc. Carp thrive in polluted waters heavy with urine and fecal matter. They are the "pig" in the family of fish and should be put on the list of non-kosher foods, IMO.

    Garbage in = garbage out. Eating converted fecal matter, carp, should no doubt result in lowering one’s body level of holiness and in lowering one’s desire to raise oneself up spiritually to make aliyah to Israel. Those diaspora Jews who are eating carp are not just living their Judaism out of a jar but rather out of a toilet wherein the stench is so toxic and strong that they become addicted to it like a drug addict.

    Perspiration has the same properties as urine; however, after eating carp, perspiration must also contain fecal properties as well.
    Obama was raised and educated in the Quran in which it states that Jews are pigs. Could this be the reason why Obama treats carp eating Jews so badly because they smell like a pig?

    This was just a passing 2 second thought as I woke up to read this blog before my morning coffee.:-) You can carry on now, Tzvi, with your efforts without any more interruptions.

  2. Hey thar fella! Fry mah hide! On thet plate, R thar pitchers of shrimp, ockopus, snails an’ diced up squid? Jest wonnerin’.

  3. Liad Bar-el says:

    In reviewing the Torah parasha, Ha’azinu in Me’Am Lo’Ez Vol 19 pg 119-121, I found some encouragement after the sever buildup of surrounding enemy forces that claim to want to wipe us, Israel, off the face of the earth resulting with the no action leftist government which is making the whole situation worse by the day. Deut 32:26, 27 “I said I would vent My anger against them, and make their memory vanish from among mankind. [I would do this] were it not for the accumulated rage of the enemy. Perhaps, their foes would misunderstand. Perhaps they would say: ‘Our hand has become uplifted. It is not G-d Who caused this.’”.

    “G-d explained that He does not destroy the Jews because it might cause the Gentiles to deny His providence. When Jews live lives with Torah and Mitzvot [which can only be fully accomplished in Israel] they are rewarded with prosperity and the Gentiles acknowledge G-d’s authority. In contrast, when Israel sins and is punished with a demeaning exile, the Gentiles lose all awareness of Divine providence and believe that the world is governed by natural order. Thus, were G-d to punish Israel even more severely, and allow the Gentiles to end its existence, His basic intent in creating man would be thwarted. Rather than appreciate Him, man would forget Him entirely. Therefore, in defiance of the scales of strict judgment, G-d must redeem the Jews and grant them prominence. In this manner, all men will ultimately acknowledge His glory.” (Ramban).

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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